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7 Essential Sauces in Thai Cuisine

Whether dipping, seasoning, marinating or flavouring while cooking, when it comes to Thai cuisine, you name it and there’s a sauce for it! Sauces are undoubtedly a staple ingredient in Thai cuisine and help achieve a lot of Thai food’s renowned sweet, spicy, sour and tangy balance of flavours. In this blog, we’re sharing 7 essential Thai sauces you should always have stocked or ready to make when preparing a variety of Thai foods from dipping sauces for fruits, classic heat packed multi-use sauces, sauces to use instead of salt in recipes and more…

Nam Pla Wan

Unripe and sour fruits are a regular delicacy in Thailand and in this state, these fruits (which include Thai sour green mango, Thai guavas and chayote) need a little pick-me-up to make them more enjoyable to eat. ‘Nam Pla Wan’ is the perfect traditional Thai dipping sauce made specifically to serve with Thai fruits. It's a delicious, sweet and savoury dipping sauce which can either be bought ready-made or prepared at home by combining fish sauce, shrimp paste, chillies and dried shrimp into an aromatic sweetened fish sauce with a jelly-like consistency. 

Check out our recipe for home-made Nam Pla Wan served with Thai Guavas.

Nam Prik Pao

Nam Prik Pao is another traditional Thai sauce used in a wide variety of recipes and dishes in Thai cuisine. This is also known as Thai chilli jam or chilli paste and is made from a blend of Thai chillies, garlic, shallots, tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce and fermented shrimp paste. This sauce truly brings out the authentic taste in many Thai recipes including Thai fried rice, Tom Yum soup and Thai fish cakes. There are many variations of Nam Prik Pao which can differ in terms of chilli heat levels, sweetness and fish flavours. As such, its versatility also means that this sauce can also be enjoyed in simpler foods as a condiment such as sandwiches or salad dressings.

Shop our range of Nam Prik Pao:  Thai Chilli Sauce

Sweet Chilli Sauce

Sweet Chilli Sauce is undoubtedly one of the best known sauces in Thai cuisine around the world. In Thailand, this sauce is known as ‘Nam Chim Kai’ and is typically used as a condiment rather than as an ingredient within recipes. Similar to Nam Prik Pao, Thai sweet chilli sauce is available in several varieties of sweet and spiciness to suit different tastes. Sweet chilli sauce can be made at home using a combination of traditional Thai ingredients but sometimes nothing beats finding your favourite brand of ready made and bottled Thai sweet chilli sauce, ready to enjoy at your own convenience.

Discover the range of authentic Thai sweet chilli sauces we stock here: Sweet Chilli Sauce

Peanut (Satay) Sauce

Although widely associated with Thai cuisine, satay sauce actually originated in Indonesia. It was adapted in Thai cuisine into what’s more commonly known as peanut sauce with rich, deep flavours and a creamy consistency. To achieve the depth of flavour, Thai satay sauce usually consists of key ingredients such as red curry paste, tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce and of course peanuts. 

Similar to Indonesian cuisine, Thai satay sauce is made to be served with grilled meats (typically on skewers) and is also suitable to pair with grilled vegetables and meat substitutes. Modern home-made variations of the sauce have also been used with a smoother-liquid consistency as dressings for salads or even as a base sauce for noodle recipes.

Shop our range of ready made Satay Sauce: Satay Sauce

Discover our home-made peanut sauce recipe here: Peanut Sauce 1 Click Recipe

Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha chilli sauce sits next to sweet chilli sauce as one of Thailand’s most recognised condiments. Sriracha is a type of Thai chilli hot sauce which is named after the city in Thailand which it originated from. Much like many other kinds of hot sauce, sriracha can be used to add heat and flavour to recipes, whether as a dip/condiment, to marinade meats or to prepare another sauce. 

Made with ingredients such as Thai chillies, vinegar, garlic, palm sugar and salt, an authentic Thai sriracha sauce has a distinctly tangy and spicy taste (although heat levels can vary) and smooth runny texture which is perfect for splashing onto seafood, omelettes, classic Thai noodle recipes and more!

Shop our range of Thai sriracha sauces: Sriracha Sauces

Fish Sauce

You can think of fish sauce or ‘Nam Pla’ in Thai, as the soy sauce of Thai cuisine. Similar to Chinese soy sauce, Thai fish sauce is used in cuisine as both a condiment or ingredient in recipes and you can almost always expect to use it when preparing a wide range of Thai dishes from Thai green curry, Tom Kha soup, Thai salads and fried rice recipes. Fish sauce is used almost as a substitute for salt, adding a rich savoury and umami flavour when preparing curries, soup, stews, in marinades and even dips such as classic Phrik Nam Pla.

Explore our range of Thai fish sauces: Fish Sauces

Soy Sauce

Originating in China, soy sauce is a staple ingredient that was adopted into Thai cuisine and cooking. It is also used in a very similar manner to Chinese cuisine, with two main varieties used to either bring flavour (light soy sauce) or colour (dark soy sauce) to recipes. There is also a sweeter variety of Thai soy sauce known as ‘sweet soy sauce’ which was created for use more as a condiment or dipping sauce.

In general, Thai soy sauces are milder in savoury flavours than Chinese soy sauces and this is sometimes due to the addition of palm sugar, which reflects the way Thai foods play on the balance of sweet and savoury tastes. Similar to fish sauce, you can find Thai soy sauce used in a variety of Thai dishes from Pad Kee Mao to Khao Soi.

Discover our range of Thai soy sauces: Soy Sauces

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